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How robust is the optimistic update bias for estimating self-risk and population base rates?

Garrett, N; Sharot, T; (2014) How robust is the optimistic update bias for estimating self-risk and population base rates? PLoS One , 9 (6) , Article e98848. 10.1371/journal.pone.0098848. Green open access

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Abstract

Humans hold unrealistically optimistic predictions of what their future holds. These predictions are generated and maintained as people update their beliefs more readily when receiving information that calls for adjustment in an optimistic direction relative to information that calls for adjustment in a pessimistic direction. Thus far this update bias has been shown when people make estimations regarding the self. Here, we examine whether asymmetric belief updating also exists when making estimations regarding population base rates. We reveal that while participants update beliefs regarding risk in the population in an asymmetric manner, such valence-dependent updating of base rates can be accounted for by priors. In contrast, we show that optimistic updating regarding the self is a robust phenomenon, which holds even under different empirical definitions of desirable information.

Type: Article
Title: How robust is the optimistic update bias for estimating self-risk and population base rates?
Location: United States
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0098848
Publisher version: http://dx.doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0098848
Language: English
Additional information: © 2014 Garrett, Sharot. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.
UCL classification: UCL
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Brain Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Brain Sciences > Div of Psychology and Lang Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Brain Sciences > Div of Psychology and Lang Sciences > Experimental Psychology
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/1433293
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